Catalyst: Strategic – a collaborative biomedical science research programme with China

A 2020 Catalyst: Strategic investment in a collaborative research programme with the People’s Republic of China that aims to develop high-quality research on cutting-edge health and biomedical sciences.

About the Programme

The Maurice Wilkins Centre has developed a collaborative research programme with leading Chinese research institutions, focused on the discovery and development of effective therapies for cancer, metabolic and degenerative disease, and infectious diseases. The programme has been funded to the value of $9.5 million (GST excluded) until 2023/24, and the Maurice Wilkins Centre expects to allocate funding and provide support for up to 12 projects over the life of the programme.

Find out more about the Maurice Wilkins Centre(external link)

This Catalyst: Strategic investment was commissioned by MBIE in support of the 2019 Memorandum of Arrangement between MBIE and the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS). Health and biomedical sciences is one of the agreed bilateral priority areas under MBIE’s Five Year Roadmap for New Zealand-China Science and Technology Cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST). A successful programme will strengthen New Zealand’s scientific engagement with China and deliver health benefits in areas of particular relevance and importance to New Zealand.

Public Statement from the Maurice Wilkins Centre

The Maurice Wilkins Centre (MWC) is a national biomedical network hosted at the University of Auckland that discovers and develops new human therapies and diagnostics. Since 2012 the MWC has engaged successfully with scientific partners at prestigious Chinese institutions, especially the Chinese Academy of Sciences. These partnerships have produced cutting-edge scientific discoveries and new therapies that are poised to enter clinical trials. The collaborations have also led to intellectual property ownership which is jointly shared by MWC and the Chinese partners.

The proposed programme will allow the MWC to generate breakthrough scientific knowledge that can be translated into new treatments for cancer and metabolic, infectious, neurologic and degenerative disease. These treatments will not only benefit the health of the people of both countries, but are likely to also provide strong economic benefits.

The research programme will also deepen the relationship between New Zealand and China in a crucial high technology field, thereby increasing New Zealand’s international reputation for world-class research and innovation. New Zealand scientists will benefit, especially at an early career stage, through access to expertise, technology, and equipment / facilities not available within New Zealand, and through lifting their vision of what they can achieve through active engagement with leading scientists and institutions outside New Zealand.

Important dates

Date Activity
June 2020 Programme begins
December 2024 Programme concludes

Contact us

For more information about the programme, email

For more information about Catalyst: Strategic, email  

Last updated: 04 February 2021